Queen to Aberdeen 5 November 1853

Queen Victoria wrote to Prime Minister Aberdeen from Windsor Castle having been forwarded a letter from Ambassador Stratford. The Queen expressed concern that Ambassador Stratford appeared to be committing the country to a path that would lead to war.

“Although the Queen will have the pleasure of seeing Lord Aberdeen this evening, she wishes to make some observations on the subject of Lord Stratford’s last private letters communicated to her yesterday by Lord Clarendon. They exhibit clearly on his part a desire for war, and to drag us into it. When he speaks of the sword which will not only have to be drawn, but the scabbard thrown away, and says, the war to be successful must be a “very comprehensive one” on the part of England and France, the intention is unmistakable, and it becomes a serious question whether we are justified in allowing Lord Stratford any longer to remain in a situation which gives him the means of frustrating all our efforts for peace. The question becomes still graver when it is considered that General Baraguay d’Hilliers seems from Lord Cowley’s account of his conversation with him equally anxious for extreme measures.

“The Queen must express her surprise that Lord Stratford should have coolly sent on so preposterous a proposal as Redschid Pasha’s note asking for a Treaty of Alliance, the amalgamation of our Fleets with the Turkish one, and the sending of our surplus ships to the “White” Sea (!) without any hesitation or remark on his part. As the note ends, however, by saying that the Porte desires que les points ci-dessus émenés (sic) soient appréciés par les Cours d’Angleterre et de France, et que ces Cours veuillent bien déclarer leur intention d’agir en conséquence, this appears to the Queen to afford an admirable opportunity for stating plainly and strongly to the Turkish Government that we have no intention of being used by them for their own purposes. This time such a declaration might behanded in to the Turkish Government, so that there can be no mistake about the matter for the future.

“The Queen encloses the letter and note, and wishes Lord Aberdeen to show her letter to Lord Clarendon.